Tuesday, July 10, 2012

SQL 2012 Upgrade: Series Overview

Here is an overview of the rest of the series leading up to this post.

Part 1: The Test Environment

The biggest part of our SQL Server 2012 Upgrade Plan is testing. Although Microsoft hasn’t really changed a whole lot in what we do, there is still the off-chance that some minor change will blow up one of our solutions. I am pretty explosion-averse and was about to start pounding my head against a wall trying to come up with a way to test without impacting developers or users. Then I got lucky; one day I was chatting with a co-workers and he had a really great idea for how to create a test environment that would fit our needs.

Part 2: Test Plan

While I probably should have worked out the test details earlier in the SQL Server 2012 upgrade planning, some of the details didn’t come out until later in the planning process (after the schedule was pretty much set). Luckily, we didn’t wait too long and it didn’t impact our upgrade schedule.

Part 3: Test Prep

Playback trace capture is a simple process but it is imperative that we capture enough data to get an accurate test. This requires something I haven’t mentioned much yet but really should have: communication. If you don’t want to freak out your developers, especially ones that still have scars from their upgrade bites, you want to get them on board early. Not only will the developers like you better, they will be more apt to help you out. You’re probably going to need their help to communicate to your/their customers and to help you get the right test data together.

Part 4: SSIS Testing

What we planned for our SSIS testing and then what really happened. Not really a lot more I can say about that.

Part 5: Query Playback Testing

Trace replay was a very important part of our testing plan. Our desire was to complete the SQL Server 2012 upgrade without the end-users noticing any change.There is no practical way to completely ensure that we could accomplish this but being able to successfully execute a batch of queries that emulates the live production environment would go a long way towards getting the "warm and fuzzy" feeling.

Part 6: SSAS DB Processing Test

One thing we definitely had to be sure of when we upgraded to SQL Server 2012 was that all the Analysis Services databases could be processed successfully.  This process went pretty smoothly but not without a few hiccups. In the end, the issues we ran into were pretty easy to resolve.

Part 7: Upgrade Plan

Alright! All the testing is done and we're ready to get this upgrade done! We had a rough upgrade plan to start with but we learned a lot during the testing process. As a result, the plan changed and became more detailed. Our weeks of testing and analysis paid off and left us in a vary comfortable place.

Part 8: The Upgrade

Wow, what a hectic couple of days. There isn't a lot to tell here as things went pretty much according to plan. We tuned the plan on a Friday by upgrading our Development and QA environments and took to Production on Saturday morning. If you're looking for some SQL Server drama then read on!

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